My trip home so far hasn’t gone the way I was hoping. I never did make it out to see Bill, nor did I catch up with my friends like I hoped. Despite this, it felt great to meet up with long lost family who I haven’t heard from since I left home three years ago. Not to mention get to do all the Philly things and eat all the Philly style food I wanted. Hello, random 10 pounds I gained.
All was going well until I was invited to go to an after thanksgiving gathering from a distant relative I haven’t seen since I was about 10 years old. I figured “Why not?” and gave it a go.
The gathering was indeed an awkward one, people I vaguely remember much less recognize, the few I did, I only remember from weddings and funerals and the occausional Sweet 16 hoopla.
But the awkwardness of the reunion wasn’t what got to me, but the conversation surrounding me of how well the cousins are doing. The fancy software company job the one has, the family and happy marriage from the other. The fact they all got jobs they majored in, making enough money to put down on a house. Life on the greener side of the fence.
I tried to tell them what I do for a living, but couldn’t get it out. I sell tickets at a freaking theme park, wearing a polyester outfit that makes me itch. Somehow the Vacation Planner title doesn’t do it justice. Not with this crew.
The “Wow, that’s nice.” reactions just didn’t do it for me. Listening to how well everyone else is doing while I’m slowly crawling from behind. That feeling when you are the kid picked last in gym, or the kid who was last in line for lunch and all the chocolate pudding was gone and your only option was vanilla.
I left the party so I could go visit other relatives and clear my head. I just wish I hadn’t. But if I stayed, how would I have played up my accomplishments, however mediocre they would be to the side of the family that has it all?
Would me moving to Florida, teenage run away style, with nothing but a suitcase and a cell phone via a Greyhound bus do it?
Would leaving a $15 an hour job as a paraprofessional to go sell cheap outdated toys in an outlet mall on a gut feeling I would grow a career out of it suffice?
Would the fact that I am finally settled into a job backed by a union with good benefits and the fact I got paid yesterday to be with my family in another state be worth the bragging rights since a lot of companies don’t even offer holiday pay anymore?
Who knows what would of happened if I stayed. But one thing is for sure, I can’t let it ruin what is left of this trip. I already had one blow without going to see Bill, I can handle an awkward moment between second cousins twice removed, or whatever they may be.
Maybe next time someone gets married and I stumble across them again, I’ll be in a better place.
All the more reason to keep finding ways to kick ass in this world and move forward.